• October 30, 2014
October 30, 2014, 9:45:12 AM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with your Chronicle username and password
News: Talk online about your experiences as an adjunct, visiting assistant professor, postdoc, or other contract faculty member.
 
Pages: [1] 2 3
  Print  
Author Topic: Single parenting and conferences  (Read 22154 times)
pigirl31415
Goddess of Imaginary Light
Member
***
Posts: 133


« on: September 24, 2012, 9:40:42 PM »

I refuse to believe I'm the only one with this problem. How do single parents handle going to conferences, especially when you have no local support network? Do you hire a sitter for the entire time you are gone? Pull the kid out of school and send them off to other parent/grandparents/whomever?

I'm really frustrated by my professional organization's change to a new time of year for their annual conference, starting next year. They've specifically moved it from November to August, so that it would be "family-friendly" and people could make vacations out of the trip. That's all well and good, but then I'd need to find someone to watch my kid while I'm at the conference all day. Perhaps I should start networking now with other single moms who may be coming...
Logged
macaroon
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 6,410

__/\__\0/__ Look out! Sharks!


« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2012, 9:59:22 PM »

I refuse to believe I'm the only one with this problem. How do single parents handle going to conferences, especially when you have no local support network? Do you hire a sitter for the entire time you are gone? Pull the kid out of school and send them off to other parent/grandparents/whomever?

I'm really frustrated by my professional organization's change to a new time of year for their annual conference, starting next year. They've specifically moved it from November to August, so that it would be "family-friendly" and people could make vacations out of the trip. That's all well and good, but then I'd need to find someone to watch my kid while I'm at the conference all day. Perhaps I should start networking now with other single moms who may be coming...

You'll have to throw a fair amount of money at this, but it is doable.  Contact the hotel where you will be staying and they will get you in touch with a bonded nanny service.  These nanny services employ part-time nannies.  They aren't the crappy nannies;  you'll get a nanny that is either between assignments or simply doesn't want the pressure of a "permanent" assignment.

I haven't done this personally, but many of my colleagues have.  The nannies have taken their kid(s) to the slam-dunk crowd-pleasers for out-of-towners, and the kids have had a great time.
Logged
hegemony
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 4,208


« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2012, 10:27:44 PM »

I have had bad luck with taking the child to the conference and arranging to get childcare there.  It's expensive, the carer sometimes backs out, and you have to deal with your child on the plane, in the evenings, etc. when you should be writing your paper frantically or networking with folks. 

The thing to do is to establish a support network in your home town.  I don't know how old your child is, but as soon as he or she starts to make friends -- around age three -- cultivate those friends' parents.  Trade playdates.  Arrange to watch each other's kids after school, do after-school pickups or other carpools, etc.  Be the soul of helpfulness.  (And accept all offers of return help.) Your child will start wanting to do overnights with friends.  Accept, and have the friends for overnights at your place.  After a few years of this, it will be easy to take off for conferences.  Your child can stay with the friends, go to school with them, etc., and by that time you will have built up a deep friendship with these other folks, so you can trust them implicitly.  I couldn't have gotten by without the parents of my son's friends.  And needless to say, I reciprocate.  Jump in whenever you can with offers to help.  For instance, if they're having another child, offer to have their older child to stay while the parents both go in to the hospital for the birth.  And so on.  This is the way to go -- your child thinks it's a treat, and you know you can trust the parents (unlike random babysitters at hotels), and it's even free.
Logged

Tragedy tomorrow, comedy tonight.
tinyzombie
She of the Badass Abs, and a
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 15,136

elevate from this point on - chuck d


« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2012, 10:35:21 PM »

That's a great suggestion for a conference that will take place in three or four years. I'm guessing that OP doesn't have that kind of time for this one. (I'm guessing, too, that Little OP is older than three, if s/he is in school.)
Logged

Quote from: usukprof
I think we have three of them, but the smallest one seems to be the leader.
Quote from: dolljepopp
Who needs real life when Sandra Bullock is around?
Quote from: systeme_d_
You are all my people, and I love you.
tinyzombie
She of the Badass Abs, and a
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 15,136

elevate from this point on - chuck d


« Reply #4 on: September 24, 2012, 10:40:52 PM »

Double-posting to say that I overreached a bit on the time it takes to develop a close network - but my main point still stands.

OP, does the conference offer childcare? I've been to a few that do (and I've also been the child who was cared for when my parents attended conferences).
Logged

Quote from: usukprof
I think we have three of them, but the smallest one seems to be the leader.
Quote from: dolljepopp
Who needs real life when Sandra Bullock is around?
Quote from: systeme_d_
You are all my people, and I love you.
hegemony
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 4,208


« Reply #5 on: September 24, 2012, 10:52:10 PM »

If the OP's child is in school, maybe the child already has friends she does overnights with.  It may be too much to ask some friends to look after her this year, but it's not too soon to lay the foundations for next year.
Logged

Tragedy tomorrow, comedy tonight.
bourbonrose
Member
***
Posts: 119


« Reply #6 on: September 25, 2012, 5:43:34 AM »

Is there a drop-in daycare in the conference city?  You can check them out in advance.  Or does the child attend a school with any student teachers?  They're sometimes amenable to a temporary nanny position at your home, and you can check them out in advance, too.  If those aren't options, use the professional organization's message board to start networking with those other single parents.
Logged
pigirl31415
Goddess of Imaginary Light
Member
***
Posts: 133


« Reply #7 on: September 25, 2012, 7:39:29 AM »

Piboy is 9 1/2 (that half is very important, you know).

There is NO way I would impose upon another family to take my child for 3-4 nights while I'm attending a conference. No way, no how, no matter how close I was with them. To me that's not just acceptable...YMMV.

Obviously since the one I've most concerned with is in the summer, it will be easier to find some sort of alternative for him during the days. I could always get up crack-of-dawn early, take him out on the train to my sisters in the 'burbs, then pick him up at night for all the "family activities" they have planned. I'm definitely going to start talking with other single parents in my org to see if they have thought about this - they are probably still thinking about this year's meeting.
Logged
elsie
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 3,855


« Reply #8 on: September 25, 2012, 7:46:37 AM »

Is there a listserv strongly associated with your conference and your field? I don't have kids myself, but one thing I've observed is that before my field's major conferences, calls will go out on the listservs about childcare, and often families bringing teenagers will advertise some babysitting services or local organizers will share information about childcare arrangements in the host city.
Logged

"People assume that time is a strict progression from cause to effect. But actually, from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint, it's more like a big ball of wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey stuff." - the Doctor
macaroon
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 6,410

__/\__\0/__ Look out! Sharks!


« Reply #9 on: September 25, 2012, 8:41:36 AM »

I could always get up crack-of-dawn early, take him out on the train to my sisters in the 'burbs, then pick him up at night for all the "family activities" they have planned. I'm definitely going to start talking with other single parents in my org to see if they have thought about this - they are probably still thinking about this year's meeting.

Can he spend the night at your sister's as well?
Logged
shrek
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 1,948


« Reply #10 on: September 25, 2012, 9:34:39 AM »

a couple of things:
1. We're the place where kids whose parent's are out of town seem to land. Most of the time, heck all of the time, it's been just fine. We've had kids here for up to a week, during school. In these cases they were classmates of our son. We've known the parents for years (and we like them) and we like the kids. As long as they're well-behaved it works just fine. So, I wouldn't be afraid to ask-- it's a pleasure; and for my son (an only child) it's a delight. And these are families with whom we could leave our son as well.

2. I've been to a couple of those "family friendly" conference centers. It's a nice idea but for me I'd rather be some place more central. That said, I did notice that often there are "camps" for the kids. Yes, it's at a cost, but it's usually reasonable. You might check to see if this is an option.
Logged
wanna_writemore
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 2,845


« Reply #11 on: September 25, 2012, 10:04:30 AM »

Do you have a parent/sibling/good friend who would be willing to meet you in conference city to watch your child during the day?
Logged
hegemony
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 4,208


« Reply #12 on: September 25, 2012, 10:49:57 AM »

You may not want to "impose" your child on another family for 3-4 nights, but what if it were a reciprocal thing?  With a child's best friend?  My child has been on vacation with one of his best friends' families (he has two best friends), for four nights in another state.  They had a blast.  My son is ten, incidentally.  That family has become like our family to him -- for instance, when he goes over, he doesn't knock, he just walks in.  And the same with their son in our house.  We have his friends for sleepovers every week.  You may not be up for this level of sociability, but I'll say that it's made my son into an easy-going, adaptible child who always befriends the new kids in school, and whom everyone says is the friendliest kid around.  When we travel he makes friends wherever we go.  This is a nice change from me, who was a shy, hesitant, bookish kid who made about one friend per decade.  Anyway, when the situation arises, my son is begging to stay with his friends, and the friend is begging him to stay, and the parents say, "Sure!  We owe you for so many sleepovers!  Send him on over, no worries!"  In that context, it's not imposing.  It's more in the tradition of "It takes a village."  In one instance, the family, being academics, thought of the problem on their own -- "Hey, if you ever need to go to a conference, send little Hedge over here -- we'd love to have him."  It's a lot better solution than a sitter, in my book.
Logged

Tragedy tomorrow, comedy tonight.
macaroon
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 6,410

__/\__\0/__ Look out! Sharks!


« Reply #13 on: September 25, 2012, 11:12:45 AM »

It's more in the tradition of "It takes a village." 

I don't know where pigirl's at, but "the village" has never shown any interest whatsoever in the well-being of my children. 
Logged
hegemony
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 4,208


« Reply #14 on: September 25, 2012, 12:13:43 PM »

Well, my experience is that the more you give out, the more you get back.  Some people don't have the time or the inclination for it.  I am terminally shy myself.  But my experience is that when I can gear myself up to look out for ways to help other people out, I am repaid in innumerable ways.
Logged

Tragedy tomorrow, comedy tonight.
Pages: [1] 2 3
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.9 | SMF © 2006-2008, Simple Machines LLC Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
  • 1255 Twenty-Third St., N.W.
  • Washington, D.C. 20037
subscribe today

Get the insight you need for success in academe.